Creation of Virginia Henderson’s Nursing Theory

Topic: Nursing
Words: 1161 Pages: 4


Nursing is an important and complex process as part of the health care services provision. There are several nursing theories today, however, I chose Virginia Henderson’s theory. This model was selected since it is one of the basic foundations on which the understanding of nursing rests. Moreover, Henderson’s concepts describe the essence of nursing extensively and in detail. Besides, Virginia Henderson managed to partition the principles of nursing into four main concepts, contributing to a better understanding of this issue. Namely, the individual, the environment that influences one, health as part of the system, and the basics of nursing.

Virginia Henderson’s Theory

In order to more effectively understand the principles of nursing, it is necessary to break them down into basic concepts to analyze each of them separately. I, Virginia Henderson, believe that the main task of nursing is to provide the individual with those actions that one could do for oneself in the context of recovery or wellness (or a peaceful death). In my opinion, when one cannot commit such actions concerning oneself, someone should support one, and this is the very essence of nursing. Moreover, the task is formulated by providing such actions and facilitating one to become independent as soon as possible. In my opinion, nursing is compensation for what one cannot do singly due to the consequences of the disease.

Since I was young, my life has been about care when I started my professional career. Initially, I worked in the Army School of Nursing at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., where I received a diploma in nursing in 1921. Even then, I understood that caring for people who are not able to help themselves is what I would like to connect my life with. This is due to the fact that people cannot help themselves through no fault of their own, but because of illness, which formulates a necessity for support. Besides, it constitutes the historical context that influenced my thinking. Namely, I understood that I had to thoroughly analyze the concept of nursing, divide it into certain units and grasp its essence.

In my opinion, anything that makes the patient feel better, any help they need, and actions that promote the patient becoming independent as soon as possible is nursing. The essence of nursing is manifested in all these activities, and any other actions do not formulate nursing per se. In other words, nursing is not only fending and assistance to the patient, it is something that will instruct one to take care of oneself back again. The nurse must be completely devoted to the patient, as one fulfills the role of a person who will succor the patient to return to a normal life.

To better understand the essence of my theory, one needs to realize its basic concepts, and there are four of them. They include the person’s basic needs and the environment in which the person lives (or conditions). Besides, concepts involve the basics of health, depending on the degree to which the patient can function on one own, and the key fundamentals of nursing. The basic needs of the patient are what one needs at a given time, however, one cannot provide them for oneself due to illness, injury, or condition. These are the primary actions that the nurse must compensate for the patient’s normal functioning. The environment (or conditions) of the case is anything that affects the individual, and the task of nursing is to provide the most comfortable surroundings.

Further, the basics of health depend on the extent to which the patient can function independently formulates the range of actions that the individual can take without aid. The degree is a variable that alters from case to case, and it is the nurse’s task to raise this variable as high as possible. Thus, not only to provide basic care but also to help the patient do as many actions as possible independently and recover. Finally, the basic concepts of nursing are all of the above efforts aimed at the quick recovery and well-being of the individual. It also formulates the goal of the theory, namely to distinguish separate elements to understand better the core of nursing and methods to perform it as effectively as possible.

Any theory should be tested for workability and relevance in several ways. First, it is essential to research different areas in order to analyze all aspects of the theory. In addition, one should find out how the principles of theory can be used in practice. Thus, the theory was investigated in several articles, where its main aspects were analyzed. The article Patient care approach using nursing theories – comparative analysis of Orem’s self-care deficit theory and Henderson’s model- compares and contrasts my theory’s and Orem’s theory’s fundamentals (Gligor & Domnariu, 2020). Such an approach contributes to an effective understanding of the very core of the notion by contrasting it with another model. As a result, the authors identified that both models are useful for healthcare systems worldwide and may be applicable.

The second work is not comparing any models, however, it evaluates the theory’s premise as the previous one. The article The perspective of Portuguese nurses on nursing metaparadigmatic concepts aims to identify the level of agreement between the nurses’ concepts about the nursing metaparadigm and the ideas’ application (Ribeiro et al., 2018). My theory formulated basic notions of conducted study, and authors identified that there are connections between the concepts established by theoretical models and the practice of nurses. Moreover, it constitutes the basement for elaborating future developmental strategies in the issue of nursing.

Furthermore, it is essential to mention how my theory was applied in life. Thus, a vivid example would be the COVID-19 pandemic, where nurses played a vital role. During the waves of the disease, the worldwide healthcare systems realized the importance of care and the theoretical fundamentals of nursing. Thereby, my theory constituted key concepts of improving nursing practice during stressful situations (Maxwell & Radford, 2021). Furthermore, United States’ nursing textbooks included my theory which contributed to the development of this area since they are used today (Ulutasdemir, 2018). Finally, key concepts of my theory were applied in the Textbook of the Principles and Practice of Nursing as a guide for nursing practice improvement (Smith, 2019). All these formulates the relevance and utility of the theory, besides the criteria of its evaluation.


To conclude, the theory’s core lies in the fact that nursing’s primary aim is to provide the individual care and services that one would provide to oneself. Nurses should compensate and provide the necessary actions to the patient to promote one’s recovery and well-being. The theory was studied in several articles, moreover, nursing practice was improved based on the theory’s fundamentals. A vivid example is formulated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where patients and nurses were under a stressful situation. Due to effective theoretical methodology, nurses were able to provide appropriate healthcare services to patients.


Gligor, L., & Domnariu, C. D. (2020). Patient care approach using nursing theories – comparative analysis of Orem’s self-care deficit theory and Henderson’s model. Sciendo, 25(2), 11

Maxwell, E., & Radford, M. (2021). Long Covid and the ghost of nursing theory. Journal of Research in Nursing, Web.

Ribeiro, O. M., Martins, M. M., Tronchin, D. M., & Forte, E. C. (2018). The perspective of Portuguese nurses on nursing metaparadigmatic concepts. Scielo, 27(2), Web.

Smith, C. M. (2019). Nursing theories and nursing practice. F. A. Davis.

Ulutasdemir, N. (2018). Nursing. Books on Demand.

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